When one hears the term “deviance,” words such as “bad” and “wrong” quickly come to mind. Wickman defines deviance as a behavior that defies society’s standards of conduct and expectations (cited in Covington, 1999). Often considered negative, deviance has been seen as synonymous to criminal and odd behavior. With all these in mind, does society have any need for deviant people? What good could possibly come from deviant people? Deviance comes in many forms and can either be good, odd, or bad (Sociology Central, n. d. ).
All three violates the norms in particular ways but are received by people differently. Odd deviance is strange behavior like reading a book upside down. It is weird but is neither good nor bad. Bad deviance is behavior that is considered harmful or law-breaking. Thus, crime is considered deviant, but not all deviant behaviors are criminal. Good deviance is admired because it was done with good intentions despite being not normal. Risking one’s own life to save another is an example. Good deviance can give birth to heroes (Sociology Central, n.
d. ). Deviant people go beyond, under, and above the norm. They can open up a lot of new outlook and ideas for other people. They challenge existing beliefs which, at the very least, cause people to re-examine them. This causes the beliefs to receive further validation and gain more strength by overcoming another criticism. It can also result in people realizing that the ideals they have lived by for so long need to be questioned. Deviance at its best causes progress, improvements, and changes.
Going beyond the norm allows people to see if there is anything better out there, if there is anything worthwhile that people have yet to experience. Deviant behavior causes people of shared beliefs and laws or whatever to feel even more strongly about their shared ideas. People who are affected similarly by a deviant action and regard the said action as deviant recognize the shared connection among them. In the face of deviance, people become united and identify more with their fellows.
Society needs deviant people who are willing to put themselves out for the good of others. Deviant people cause society to always keep itself in check. By questioning society’s philosophy, they improve the said philosophy by helping it become stronger and more relevant to more people.
Covington, P. (1999). Introduction to deviance [Word Document]. Sociology Central. Retrieved November 26, 2008 from http://www. sociology. org. uk/pcdev95. doc Sociology Central. (n. d. ). Types of Deviance. Retrieved November 26, 2008 from http://www. sociology. org. uk/wsdmain. htm